1877 - 1910


Barilla’s adventure begins in Parma with the bread and pasta shop opened by Pietro Senior in Strada Vittorio Emanuele 252. It's only the beginning of a story of quality, innovation, and love for one's work.

1877 The beginnings

1910 The first brand

1860-1870 Parma and the Kingdom of Italy

1910 - 1919


The sons of Pietro Senior, Riccardo (1880-1947) and Gualtiero (1881-1919), promote the construction of the company's first factory: Barilla's industrialization begins.

1910 Riccardo and Gualtiero

1910 Barilla's letterhead

1915 - 1918 The First World War

1920 - 1947


The introduction of the Braibanti continuous presses and new products further expanded the company's competitiveness on the Italian market, of which Barilla becomes the industry leader.

1936 The Braibanti presses

1920 - 1935 Barilla becomes familiar

1920 - 1947 From Fascism to the Second World War

1947 - 1958


Gianni e Pietro Barilla avviano il passo definitivo verso la modernizzazione dell’azienda. È il boom, culturale ed economico, degli anni Cinquanta e Barilla vi partecipa da protagonista

1947 The era of Gianni and Pietro

1952 Carboni and Barilla's communications

1947 – 1958 The first economic boom

1958 - 1970


The "Italian Miracle" continues and Barilla's world expands as well, restructuring its historic factory and building new production sites in the province of Parma.

1958 The new factory

1958 - 1970 From commercials to Mina

1985 - 1963 The "Italian Miracle" continues

1971 - 1979


In 1971, the American group Grace acquires a majority stake in Barilla, which continues to expand and diversify its commercial products on the Italian market.

1971 "American" Barilla

1972 - 1975 From Ranieri to Mulino Bianco

1971-1979 The oil crisis

1979 - 1993


Barilla definitively asserts itself as a symbol of Italian culture, with Pietro Barilla being awarded an honorary degree in 1987. He dies in 1993 after leaving an indelible mark on the company's history.

1987 Barilla and Italian culture

1982 - 1985 Fellini and co.

1980 -1989 The first computer revolution



Guido, Luca and Paolo inherit their father's challenges with a view towards the globalization of the brand, always according to high quality standards, as well as towards the strategic innovation of the group.

1996 – 1997 Quality at the best price

1993-2001 Testimonials from around the world

The initial stages of globalization



Increasingly attentive to the various steps in the production chain, Barilla meets the new global challenges by maintaining its usual quality standards, also in defense of Italian gastronomic tradition and in the debate on agribusiness sustainability.

2002 – 2009 Barilla's new challenges

2002 Wenders and Barilla's 125 years

2000 - 2013 Euro and global crisis

1877 - 1910


1910 - 1919

Riccardo e Gualtiero

1920 - 1947

Le presse Braibanti

1947 - 1958

L’era di Gianni e Pietro

1958 - 1970

Il nuovo stabilimento

1971- 1979

Barilla «americana»

1979 - 1993

Barilla e la cultura italiana

1994 - 2001

Qualità a miglior costo


Le nuove sfide di Barilla

Barilla’s beginnings

Pietro Barilla Senior (1845-1912), after a long apprenticeship in the art of bread and pasta at his maternal grandfather Vincenzo Lanati's bakery, opens his first shop with an oven attached. His business grows quickly, also thanks to the Industrial Revolution's gradual penetration into the Po Valley plains of the newly formed Kingdom of Italy. In June of 1910, Barilla is an honest to goodness company, with its first brand, designed by sculptor Emilio Trombara.

The first industrialization

In 1910, thanks to Riccardo and Gualtiero, the company made the leap towards industrialization by building an actual bread and pasta factory that employed 80 workers and produced 80 quintals [800 kg] of pasta a day, outside the city's walls in Viale Veneto. The new bread factory was equipped with a modern oven from the German firm Werner & Pfleiderer which allowed about 20 quintals [200 kg] of bread to be baked "continuously" every day. However, the growth in productivity was accompanied by the diversification of the company's marketing, with the letterhead containing the words "G.R. F.lli Barilla" and the evolution of the "Barilla delivery boy" designed by Trombara, who appeared on postcards and on the factory's signage.

The Braibanti press revolution

Designed in 1933 by the Braibanti engineers of Parma, the first continuous Italian pasta mixing press started the process of automation in the production of pasta in 1936. Barilla became the prototype for the modern pasta factory, employing 6 continuous presses which, for the first time, combine the functions of a mixer, a kneader and a press. Thanks to these innovations, the company is also able to diversify its production in 1937 by launching phosphine pasta. Enriched with phosphorus, it became an ideal dietary food during a critical period in Italian history. Pasta made with gluten flour was also created during this period, for children. At the same time, promotional activities continued to grow, with single-brand stores, a variety of merchandising items (calendars, promotional items) and its participation in trade fairs. It made a significant appearance with a large display space at the First National Grain Fair in Rome in 1927, where Barilla received prestigious awards.

The era of Pietro and Gianni Barilla dawns

Gianni and Pietro Barilla rationalize the company's organizational chart, dividing up their tasks. Gianni gets the factory and administration; Pietro gets the market, advertising and public relations. To this end, Pietro travels to the United States in 1950 to get an update on the most innovative techniques for packaging, marketing and mass distribution. Starting in 1952, "the theory was put into practice" thanks to the partnership with Eriberto Carboni, a graphic artist and architect, who gave the company's communications a new push, also adapting to the innovative cardboard packaging produced by the new Barilla factory that opened in 1955 in Viale Veneto (which was later renamed Viale Barilla). In 1952 it received the prestigious "Palme d'Or" advertising award for the famous "With Barilla pasta, every day is Sunday" campaign. And in 1956, the first short films arrived in movie theaters, confirming Barilla's interest in cultural and technological progress. This attitude was also demonstrated by the company's choices: also in 1952, the traditional bread bakery was closed to further develop the brand's presence in the pasta market.

Expansion of the company and advertising

The Viale Barilla factory can no longer meet the production demands of a company experiencing rapid growth. In 1957, work on the expansion begins, accompanied by a strategic decentralization operation. In 1965, the new factory opens in Rubbiano; with it, Barilla "returns" to bread, through the production of rusks [dry toast] and breadsticks. In 1968, construction on the new headquarters in Pedrignano begins. It is destined to become the most modern and peerless pasta factory in the world, with its 120-meter production line. While these changes are taking place, Barilla enters the world of television and commercials, starring the young actors Giorgio Albertazzi and Dario Fo. However, Barilla's communications were seeking a more recognizable dimension. In 1964, the company's first advertising serial debuts: the famous "Life with Bettina", a witty slice of domestic life during Italy's economic boom years, a confirmation of how the company's message was always in step with the times. Its advertising reached its peak from 1965 to 1970, thanks to Mina's participation. She starred in more than 60 clips, whose content and songs were unforgettable.

The American digression

The new decade of Barilla opens with the company's acquisition by the American group Grace. The transfer of the company's shareholdings, however, does not prevent Barilla from moving on the market, adding the prestigious Voiello pasta factory to its ranks. Thanks to this, the company's share of the southern Italian market grows. The acquisition in 1974 of Italy's largest flour mill, the Basile mill in Altamura, which with its 3,500 quintals [35,000 kg] of wheat per day allows Barilla to increase its direct procurement from 15% to 45%, is also part of this viewpoint. Then another mill makes its mark on Barilla's history: none other than the "Mulino Bianco" brand, specializing in a new line of baked goods, which also won a remarkable share of the market thanks to its promotional items. This intense decade ended, however, the same way it began: Pietro Barilla's attempt to buy back the family firm from Grace is successful and he immediately begins its relaunch, using its two-track tradition/innovation approach.

The end of the Pietro Barilla era

The honorary degree awarded to Pietro Barilla in 1987 by the University of Bologna and the company's donation to the School of Engineering at the University of Parma are evidence that Barilla has been enshrined in the world of Italy's social and economic culture. This philosophy was also pursued through the new communications campaigns, which prefer ads on the packaging and in the print media. The 1985 collaboration with director Federico Fellini for the "Rigatoni" commercial is also unforgettable. The famous campaign slogan "Home is where Barilla is" by Young and Rubicam also debuted in 1985. In the meantime, the adventures of the Little White Miller helped animate Mulino Bianco's message through a serious of television cartoon shorts. A character who was embodied in 1990 thanks to Giuseppe Tornatore's famous commercial shot at a restored mill in the hills of Siena. The acquisitions of prestigious Italian and foreign groups also date back to those years: Braibanti, Laboratori Riuniti (Tre Marie), Pavesi and Misko, which resulted in the creation of "Barilla Germany". This idyllic period was spoiled by the sudden death of Pietro Barilla in 1993. He left the company with a wealth of challenges to be overcome with courage and foresight.

Logistics reorganization and new communications

the first major move "after Pietro Barilla" is abandoning promotional items, in order to take the path of quality at the best price. This pared-down approach also involved the implementation of an independent logistics system for the distribution of Barilla products (but also of outside companies): for this purpose, the Number 1 Logistics Group was created in 1997. Two years later, two new "twin" factories were inaugurated, although they were thousands of miles apart: Ames (USA) and Foggia became the new foundation of the Barilla group. This strategic in-country installation of course required the internationalization of its new advertising campaigns. Gérard Depardieu (France), Steffi Graf (Germany), Alberto Tomba and Zucchero (Italy) are only some of the prestigious testimonials from those years. Mulino Bianco also launched a series of commercials linked to the imaginary world of fairy tales to celebrate its first 25 years: Barilla is definitely ready to face the new millennium, all the while remaining true to its origins.

The group's new challenges

the new millennium opens under the sign of the Euro: Barilla accepts the challenges of globalization, launching a public offer to acquire the German group Kamps A.G., the European leader in bread. On the other hand, "globalization" also means a weakening of local traditions and potential impoverishment of the production chain's quality standards. For this reason, the groups decides to found Academia Barilla in 2004. It is dedicated to the defense, development and promotion of regional Italian gastronomic culture. The attention to raw materials and the quality of the production chain is also demonstrated by the launching of new products (Piccolini, 2003-2004) and the relaunching of the Voiello brand. From this viewpoint, 2009 is a pivotal year, with the inauguration of the world's largest integrated mill complex, a work whose outlook aims to complete the production chain from the farm to the table. Based on this love of healthy eating, while respecting the environment, BCFN was created the same year. It is a independent think tank in the field of nutrition and sustainability. A message of quality that continues to shine through in Barilla's main commercials: in 2002, Wim Wenders, using a screenplay by Alessandro Baricco, celebrated the company's 125 years, and in 2009 Mina returned to lend her voice to a Barilla commercial. At the same time, Mulino Bianco keeps consumers dreaming with Gabriele Salvatores' "The Imaginary Bread Baker" and "The Mill That I Would Like" project to enable new relationships between the brand and the consumer. It is precisely innovation, while respecting tradition and the consumer, which remained the primary goal of a company that wants to write new pages of its history every day. Because the adventures of Barilla, in Italy and around the world, continue...